Joe Root issues defiant message over his England captaincy after chastening Ashes start

Joe Root issues defiant message over his England captaincy after chastening Ashes start

Joe Root has hit back at critics over his captaincy ahead of England’s must-win Boxing Day Ashes Test.

After the tourists went 2-0 down in Adelaide, Root opted to publicly criticise his bowlers despite much of the scrutiny being on the batting, with his side failing to make 300 in any of their four innings so far,

The 30-year-old felt the pace attack of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, and Chris Woakes bowled too short during the day-night test, leading to former quick Steve Harmison telling talkSPORT he would have “been waiting for him at the top of the stairs” if a skipper made similar comments in his playing days.

Joe Root and England are under pressure to salvage the Ashes series
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Getty Images)

However Root, who this week had salt rubbed into the wounds after being overtaken as the world’s no 1 batsman by Marnus Laubashagne, has also lamented his side’s batting and close catching.

Asked how his words had gone down with veterans Anderson and Broad, he told reporters: “What I said at the end of the game, it’s not about pointing fingers. It’s not about singling players out or trying to put blame on one department – collectively we weren’t good enough.

“I was asked some direct questions after the game about our bowling and I answered them. If you’d asked me about the batting I’d have said something very similar.

“I like to give our senior bowlers responsibility, they’ve got over 300 Tests and over 1000 wickets between them. They know what they are doing, they are highly skilled bowlers, wonderfully talented players that time and time again have put in big performances for us.”

“So it’s about working alongside them, it’s not a dictatorship. Every now and again, you don’t always agree on everything, and that’s fine. Ultimately it’s about coming to a point where you get the results you want.”

England are in do or die territory in Melbourne, knowing their slim hopes of reclaiming the urn will be over if they fail to notch a first victory in 13 away Ashes Tests.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have got a big job to do if selected in Melbourne
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Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

The tourists have won just one Test at the MCG this century, but Root – still searching for his first Test century down under – insists it’s a prospect he’s relishing.

“To get a chance to play in the Boxing Day Test is very special and, with where the series is currently, it’s a very exciting opportunity,” he said.

“Clearly we’re going to have to play a lot better than we have in the first two games but I expect us to do just that. It has to be better, it’s as simple as that.”

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